Shooting street photography all day every day is pretty much heaven for me. Sure I have leg cramps and blisters, but as the hipsters would say - “it’s all for the art, man!”. For many, taking the step to leave the mundane and do something you are passionate about is rather daunting. The biggest hurdles are money and your mind. You have to be savvy with what you have in the bank and do all you can to keep mentally strong. Here are some steps I have taken to ensure I am travelling cheap and keeping sane.
During my travel, I have been using a combination of hostels and Airbnb.
Hostels are great to get a cheap sleep and also meet people. Shooting street photography can be lonely at times, and if you’re truly in the zone it can be hard to fully interact with people. After a long day shooting, it can be nice to chill in the common room and have a good conversation. The plus side is, they are super cheap. I have been spending between £13-£15 per night, much cheaper than a private room in a hotel.
Airbnb is a great option also, as you get to stay with someone who is local to the city you are in. The advantage of this is that they will have information that the companies would not want to tell tourists. For example, when in Valencia a Paella averaged £12-£18. However, my Airbnb host told me about a lovely little street food set up that provided huge portions for only £3.50 - a big money saver! I was able to stay in this lovely place - Airbnb digs - for only £11 (prices may vary depending on dates).
When you get into these cool new cities, it can be tempting to go and dine at at all the wonderful restaurants that are being thrust into your face. This is where you need to show some self-restraint, and think about your budget above anything else. I have been surviving off fruits for breakfast, tortilla for lunch and then a small treat like chicken for dinner. The below lunch cost me £1.80 and gave me enough energy to get back out and shooting!
Also, many of the Airbnbs and hostels have access to a kitchen - so you can bulk cook for a few days and have more time to be creative and more money in your wallet.
Whenever I plan to travel to a different country, my first point of planning is to use Skyscanner. Now, if you are like me and happy to go anywhere, here is a little step I take to ensure I get cheap flights.
In the search section, I type in: London - Everywhere. Skyscanner then generates a list of flights, starting with the lowest priced. I then pick one of the top 3, and plan my trip from there. I have had flights as low as £10!!
Whilst in Spain, for inland travel I have been using BlaBlaCar. BlaBlaCar, is a great website that brings together people doing a certain trip. Essentially you are car sharing with a group of people, all contributing to the overall cost. I spent £14 on a trip from Valencia to Barcelona. In comparison, the coach cost £25, and the train £32.
It is amazing what little things can come up whilst travelling. Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time in order to get some savers under your belt. Below are some money savers that happened to me.
Another guest leaving two day early at a hostel. The guest overbooked by two days and the hostal would not refund him. I offered him 50% of what he paid. He got some money back and I got some cheap rates.
Traveller going home early. A traveller bought a 7 day travel pass, but had to go home early. I again offered a discounted price for what he paid, but he was more than happy to give it to me for free.
Free books. Whilst travelling, it is imperative you keep your mind healthy and sane. Reading is a wonderful way to pass time and learn. Rather than go splurge £10 on a fancy new hard back - you will come across many people who are more than pleased to pass on a great read they have had.
Communal dinners. In hostals you will find people will cook large meals, often having more than their stomach can take. It is not uncommon for someone to offer you to sit with them and enjoy their excess. You get a good meal and some nice conversation!
I would note, however, whilst these are great ways to save money, it can’t all be take take take. When you can, keep the positive vibes going and share or give away the things you no longer need.
Keep yourself healthy and happy, travelling is a dream but it can be tough and stressful. Your objective is to keep funds low, keep your mind stimulated and ensure you get as much time as possible shooting the streets you have chosen to explore
Thanks for reading
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